Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Diwali

Yesterday was Diwali, the Indian celebration of lights. My children spent a whole day creating these beautiful crafts as decorations and parting gifts for close friends we had invited for an evening of dinner, pooja and lighting of diyas (clay lamps from India) and candles.
There was a gathering at my house. The pooja mandir was set, dinner was cooked (well made by a generous friend who has the gift of healthy cooking), the house was scrubbed clean, old keep sakes and lamps of diwali taken out, new keep sakes and diyas purchased - all the traditiona of Diwali I experienced from my childhood repeated. It started a week ago and the day before spent with children preparing for the auspicious evening the next day. So much of my childhood repeated but with some modifications of my own. Even though I am no longer in India, that spirit and joy of recreating my own life as a child repeated with and through my children.

It was a magical evening, something that has now become somewhat of a tradition in my household since the children were born. Its a tradition I inherited from my own parents.We had hoped to save one of these crafts, but the children just handed them out to everyone who came till nothing was left for them to keep as a memory. A school book report and a show and tell at her class was interrupted as a result younger one had nothing to take anymore.. Suddenly her desire and inspiration was gone. But this was such a pure and generous gift to our guests, that I now realize that there is no better book report or show and tell than the generosity and giving expressed by my children in that moment.

Perhaps it is this virtue of unadulterated giving that is the true spirit of Diwali, even though the history tells us it is the day of the win of the good over the evil and the return of a king to his homeland (amongst many other reasons and traditions).

Yesterday there was joy, laughter, music, lights in my household. Tonight, there is silence and quiet and yesterday feels like a distance memory. The only evidence left in the house of yesterday is the pooja mandir created by my kids and the sweet incense they loved to burn, and the colourful moong bean rangoli the children created with help from a friend "Kaye". I had no idea what she meant by making rangoli by gluing "beans" to paper - but it was simply divine. It created a new tradition in my family.

The makeshift pooja mandir will be left in its place and will stay for a while, till it is respectfully put away in its historical place on a kitchen nook. But this is a memory I will cherish always in my heart, because there was a lot of love and joy that was shared last night. I am wiser for it, because despite my loneliness and sadness of not having my munchkins tonight with me, I am comforted with the knowledge that they deeply share my joy and love of giving and the love of Diwali. These seeds are well planted, along with the seeds of yoga and when my young ones grow up from little seedlings to trees, this value shall blossom and I will have done my part of imparting my culture, language, tradition, and love of yoga to them, so they then can perhaps carry the same family tradition and history.

My hired help Erika left with her own special keepsakes of Bean Rangoli from the children had the most inspiring parting words.. "It was a magical evening!"... Yes Diwali is magical but not just for children, but for anyone of any age as it inspires you to spark that light in yourself and allowd you to experience the joy of giving so you too shine your own light in your unique way...

Happy Diwali to you all and I hope you too can shine your light with others...


The Yogi

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fight the pain!

My writer's block has continued. It has been hard to motivate myself to collect my thoughts and put the "electronic pen" to the "electronic paper". I had prepared a synopsis of my India trip, especially 5 days I spent in Pune where I had the opportunity to visit Abhay's studio and get 2 hours of yoga every morning. It did wonders for my sciatica and lower back. I also took a very fun "Sports yoga" class where we did "fast poses" and the whole class.

I arrived in India and spent the first week in excruciating pain and the last 5 days were bliss despite long hours and nights at work. I got a chance to say goodbye to some friends from Chile, who had not only spent a year in Pune practicing at the institute, but travelled extensively and absorbed the culture to the fullest. I highly recommend this to folks who want to come and practice at the institute. I know many come for a month and have a packed schedule. But experiencing the people and culture is as important as 5-6 hours of yoga at the institute where you live in a bubble.

In addition to being in Pune, I had the pleasure to connect with my past from 28 years, my classmates from grade 10 and visiting the place I grew up. I left with a profound message from Abhay as I struggled with chronic back pain. "Don't try to avoid it, fight it"! I am fighting it..